Australian table grape exports could set new record, says ATGA
ATGA CEO Jeff Scott said there had been 'normal' growing conditions in the key regions in recent months, and said a positive season seemed to be in store.
"We're expecting to have as big as or a bigger year next season than we did last season, and last season was a record-breaker for us," he told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"Indications are that we’ve got a similar size crop to last year. It’s a little bit early at this stage in terms of how it’s going to shape up, but the indications are that it’s looking quite good for the coming season."
Last year around 110,000 metric tons (MT) of table grapes were exported, representing 60% of national production. Scott said he was hoping to boost the proportion of fruit exported in the coming years.
"Certainly there's more of a shift toward our industry being export-focused. There is a high demand for Australian fruit," he said.
He said there was also a trend toward seedless varieties in the industry, and predicted production would increase by 30% 'within the next two to five years'.
The Australian table grape industry's biggest markets are China, Japan, the Philippines and Thailand, and Scott mentioned exporters were hoping to make inroads into the South Korean market this year.
He added while there were no markets the industry was currently trying to gain access to, negotiations were underway to improve protocols to certain destinations.
In terms of competition from the likes of Peru and Chile this season, Scott said it was no cause for concern.
"I would say the market can sustain three countries, the demand is strong enough, we have a very good sweet quality product that is in demand, and there’s also demand for other countries’ fruit as well," he said.
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